One of the best things about Android is its flexibility — meaning you can customise it any way you want with widgets and themes.
Widgets are interactive icons that live on your phone’s home screen. They show you information without requiring you to launch an app or dig around in your phone’s settings.
Widgets have been available for almost as long as Android has existed, but they have become more polished and functional over the years.
Apple recently introduced a similar functionality to the iPhone with iOS 8, but it only works with a limited number of apps and lives in the Notification drawer rather than the home screen.
With 1Weather, you can choose between six different widgets for your home screen. The design of the app itself is clean and clear, and it offers extended forecasts for a 10-day period. 1Weather packs a ton of information into its widget, such as temperature, precipitation, what temperature it feels like outside, and more.
If you frequently use Google Keep, installing the widget on your Android phone's home screen can help you make the most of the service. With the widget, you can see your recent notes, recordings, and photos without having to open the app.
If there's a particular person you frequently need to get in touch with, you can create your own shortcut to that person's contact info on your home screen. Just open up the contact you want to add, press the menu button, and then press Add Shortcut, and you're all set.
With Beautiful Widgets, you can compose your own custom widgets for showing the date, time, and weather. You can mix and match different styles, and the app lets you choose from different sizes to accommodate various screens.
The widget for ESPN's SportsCenter app makes it easy to keep track of scores and headlines from your favourite teams. You can get information about your favourite teams at a glance without having to open the full app.
DigiCal+ Calendar and Widgets takes the information stored in your Google Calendar and offers up a bunch of different ways to view it depending on your preference. There are tons of colours and themes to choose from, with options ranging from individual day views to week and monthly views.
Evernote has it's own standalone widget you can download from the Google Play Store that works with its app. There are three widget styles to choose from: large, small, and list. The list widget, as its name implies, displays your recent notes and reminders in a list. The small widget lets you create notes, audio files, and photos, while the larger widget also displays snippets of recently viewed notes.
DashClock Widget allows you to customise your Android device's lock screen by adding elements like the weather, your next calendar appointment, and more. The Gmail notifications are particularly useful -- the widget tells you how many unread messages you have in large font while the sender's email address is listed in smaller font underneath.
It's already pretty easy to access these settings on Android through Quick Settings, but Slider makes the process even faster. Slider comes in four different sizes and lets you access notification, call, media, and ringtone volume, as well as brightness directly from your home screen.
With Google's Gmail widget, you can see your most recent emails without having to open the app. It's helpful if you want to keep an eye on your inbox without compulsively refreshing the Gmail app.
Feedly's widget displays the most recent stories from your feed on your home screen, making it easy to quickly glance at news headlines. Simply tapping the headline in the widget launches the full article.
Jack's Music Widget allows you to control Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, and more from your phone's home screen. The widget lets you pause or play music, displays album art, and lets you choose from different themes.